Originally created 08/14/04

Across the area



Officer resigns amid charges

A Lincolnton police officer charged with sex offenses by state and local law enforcement has resigned, officials said Friday.

Lincolnton Police Chief Harold Mead said Gavin Wayne Butts, 20, charged with child molestation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, submitted his resignation Wednesday.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Lincoln County Sheriff's Office charged Mr. Butts after investigators found that he engaged in sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl earlier this week, they said.

I'm just really heartbroken," Chief Mead said. "It's unfortunate. Gavin had a lot of hopes. He would have made a good officer."

Woman says someone shot into apartment

An Augusta woman told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that someone shot into her apartment Thursday, a police report states.

Clelander Denise Mickens, of the Savannah West apartment complex, said that after 11 a.m., she was lying in bed talking on the telephone when she heard what she thought was a gunshot inside her building, along with movement in her apartment.

She said she got out of bed, looked through her window and saw a man she didn't know running away from the building.

As Ms. Mickens inspected her apartment, she said, she found a hole in the wall of her bedroom closet, and also found a bullet lying on top of a shirt.

Man claims he foiled morning break-in

An Augusta man told police he saw someone trying to break into his residence early Friday morning.

Lawrence Gregory, 39, of the 2100 block of Kennedy Drive, said that he saw a man trying to enter his residence through a window at about 2 a.m.

Mr. Gregory said he yelled for the man to stop what he was doing, and the man ran away.

He said the man had removed the screen to the window at the time he noticed the attempt to enter the residence.

Two more charges are filed in tobacco thefts

Richmond County sheriff's investigators have filed additional charges against a man who they said was responsible for a series of smash-and-grab cigarette thefts from area convenience stores, officials said Friday.

Officers filed two additional burglary charges against Earl Alex Harris Jr., said sheriff's Sgt. Ken Eskew, a property crimes investigator.

Police said Mr. Harris was responsible for cigarette thefts at convenience stores in south Augusta, which started in May. Officers found Mr. Harris Sunday after a burglary at a convenience store on Peach Orchard Road.

Judge denies bond for rape suspect

One of two men suspected of raping a teenager during the weekend must await possible indictment and trial behind bars.

In Richmond County Superior Court on Friday, Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. denied bond for Juan X. Tanksley, 26, who is charged with rape and child molestation.

Assistant District Attorney Parks White told the judge that a 15-year-old girl reported that Mr. Tanksley and another man who has not been identified raped her Sunday night. Defense attorney Ron Garnett said Mr. Tanksley, a married father of four who works steadily, denies the allegations.

Two get prison terms in unrelated robberies

A woman who tried to hide the proceeds of a purse snatching and a man who served as the driver in an armed robbery each received prison sentences Friday.

Bruce C. Owens pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to armed robbery Jan. 14. His co-defendant and accused gunman in the crime, 53-year-old Jimmy Roberson, has not been apprehended.

Mr. Owens, who spent most of the 1970s and 1980s in prison for crimes ranging from theft to armed robbery, received a sentence of 15 years in prison followed by five years' probation.

In an unrelated case, Rhonda R. Kirby, 30, pleaded guilty to a Feb. 3 robbery, and received a five-year prison sentence followed by five years on probation

She became a party to the crime of purse snatching when she tried to hide money from police when they came to arrest Wendall Crowell, 40.

He pleaded guilty last month and received the same sentence.

NAACP will sponsor voter registration

The Augusta NAACP Branch will sponsor a voter registration drive at Lee's Supermarket, 839 East Boundary, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

For more information, call 481-9132.

SRS, MCG combine forces for research

The Savannah River National Laboratory and the Medical College of Georgia are scheduled to sign a research agreement this Wednesday, according to a Friday news release.

As part of the agreement, MCG will apply materials developed at the National Laboratory for use at the Savannah River Site in the medical field.

It wasn't clear Friday how much the two institutions would work with each other. Director Todd Wright has emphasized the need for the two to collaborate.

The lab already is studying hydrogen in conjunction with the University of South Carolina and might form additional agreements with other schools in the near future, said Mal McKibben, the executive director of Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness.

"I'm not surprised" by this announcement, Mr. McKibben said.

MCG President Daniel W. Rahn and Westinghouse Savannah River Co. President Bob Pedde plan to attend Wednesday's event, where members from the institutions will further explain research opportunities that might be explored, the release said.

Burnettown residents get say in town name

A referendum asking residents in Burnettown if they want to change the town's name to Midland Valley will be placed on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

The Burnettown Town Council approved the referendum Thursday, and it was delivered to the Aiken County Voter Registration and Elections Office on Friday.

The referendum is nonbinding, so even if residents vote in favor of the change, it won't necessarily happen. Although, Councilman Wayne New said, if residents favor the change, the town council will consider voting in favor of it.

Ex-deputy faces more charges of stalking

A former Richmond County sheriff's deputy was arrested on stalking charges Wednesday after violating the conditions of his release for a separate stalking arrest two weeks earlier.

Columbia County sheriff's deputies arrested Raymond Wayne Huffman, 36, of the 2800 block of Gordy Road in Evans, and charged him with aggravated stalking, said Capt. Steve Morris, of the sheriff's office.

Capt. Morris said Mr. Huffman is being held without bond at the Columbia County Detention Center.

On July 30, Mr. Huffman was charged with stalking and making harassing phone calls to an 18-year-old Evans woman, according to a sheriff's office incident report, Capt. Morris said.

Mr. Huffman called the woman's home repeatedly, visited her home and placed a photo of her inside her mailbox that day, Capt. Morris said.

He was later arrested near the woman's home, Capt. Morris said.

Capt. Morris did not have details on what led to Mr. Huffman's latest arrest but said he had some sort of additional contact with the woman.

Burns announces grant for Daniel Field Airport

U.S. Rep. Max Burns, R-Ga., announced Friday that Augusta's Daniel Field Airport will receive $150,000 in grant money through the Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration.

Airport Director Buster Boshears said the grant money will be used to replace perimeter security fencing around the airport and to install an emergency access gate for firefighters.

As soon as the Augusta Commission approves the funding, Mr. Boshears said, the airport will begin the construction process, hopefully in the next six weeks.

Savannah's Wright Army Air Field at Fort Stewart received $1.7 million as part of the same grant.

Man reports fighting co-worker over grope

A male employee at a Wrightsboro Road business told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that he and a male co-worker had a fight after the co-worker repeatedly touched his buttocks, according to a sheriff's office incident report.

The 23-year-old man told the deputies his co-worker touched his buttocks again Friday.

After the man pushed him away, the co-worker punched him in the face and threatened to kill him, according to the report.